The Chicago Cubs won last night, preserving their 19.0 game lead in the NL Central.
Of quite a bit more import at this stage, the NL Wild Card race continues to be a tight one, with the eventual winner of the Wild Card Game the one to face the Cubs in the NLDS. All three of the Mets, Giants, and Cardinals won last night, maintaining the status quo: the Mets are up a half-game on the Giants, who are up a full game on the Cardinals.
The Mets’ win came via an offensive explosion, but also a dominant Noah Syndergaard outing. As we discussed in this space yesterday, that’s of considerable importance, as he is now lined up either to pitch in a critical final game of the regular season (if it comes to that) or a critical tie-breaker game (if it comes to that) or the Wild Card Game.
If Syndergaard goes on that final day or in a tie-breaker, he could be in line to start twice in the NLDS against the Cubs. And, given the Mets’ absurdly tattered rotation, that’s the one thing you don’t want to see. But, then, if Syndergaard doesn’t pitch in the Wild Card Game, the Mets’ chances of winning that one go down quite a bit. Although we’ve been pulling for a three-team tie for a while now, with both Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz out for the year, the calculus changes a little bit. I’m starting to think the Mets locking up a Wild Card spot before that final day would be better for the Cubs, and probably with the other spot going to the Cardinals at the wire.
The Giants, by the way, won behind another great Matt Moore outing, which is kind of what he’s been with the Giants after the Trade Deadline acquisition: sometimes awesome, sometimes terrible. He could make both teams nervous in the postseason.
Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner are scheduled to pitch Thursday and Friday, so, as with the Mets and Syndergaard, the Giants will have the ability to pitch whichever guys they want for the Wild Card Game the following Wednesday, depending on their needs. That said, Bumgarner would be lined up perfectly for the Wild Card Game, so it’s a good bet that they’d go with him in that one, leaving Cueto to be the guy who could go twice in the NLDS, if it came to that.